That is pretty much what I did all weekend. I went over the first thirty pages of “Hog Valley” – again. Even after my professional editor finished her four-month edit on the MS. She did a great job, mind you, but there are lots of ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes. Never mind catching the cat in the first place. My experience is that if the cat doesn’t want to be caught you are going to pay a hefty price to get – and keep – your hands on that cat.
Which, as we professional editors say, is a chromatically variant equine entirely. Actually, it’s a digression, but I have always wanted to use that phrase, so there it is.
I suppose one could say that going over “Hog Valley” again is more of an exercise in fine-tuning. Editing your own stuff is not easy, but it is necessary.
I had some help. The Clay County Fiction Writer’s group, of which I am a very new member, meets once a week on Fleming Island. I mentioned earlier that members email the entire group ten pages of their work. Each member then edits/comments those submissions and emails the results back to the group.
This practice encourages critical thinking, toughens ones own too-thin skin, and improves ones work tremendously.
On another subject entirely, I spent some hours over the weekend researching locations for “Twisted Key”. I think I’ve found one of the more critical locations. In the fifteenth century, St.Augustine, Florida, was a major Spanish stronghold in the New World. But it had an undefended back door, via a river to its south. This river was open to the Atlantic Ocean about twenty miles south of the city.
The Spanish set up a wooden guard post on Rattlesnake Island near the mouth of that inlet, and following the slaughter of twenty-odd French Huguenots, named the inlet and the river “Matanzas”. Guess why it’s called Rattlesnake Island. Go ahead, guess.
I spent an afternoon there, speaking with a few of the park rangers and taking lots of pictures. The rangers were generous in the replies to my questions and suggested additional sources of information.
Matanzas Inlet is today a State Park recreation area, complete with boat tours to and from the of the coquina stone Fort Matanzas the Spanish built in the seventeenth century to replace the wooden guard post on the island.
The area is made up of constantly shifting barrier islands, marsh and oak hammocks, and is a popular area for local boaters and tourists.
Once I was back home I got on-line and spent another few hours in more research.
I like it for the history, and how well it will fit into the story.
That was my weekend.